Arts and Culture News

News from the arts world.

Pianist Glenn Gould rocketed to fame in 1955 with his startling and original take on Bach's Goldberg Variations. Gould's fans were treated to a remake of Goldbergs in 1982, when he released a slower-paced rendition just before his untimely death. But it's that first, rapid fire 1955 recording that continues to captivate audiences.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

It was 100 years ago this week that Russian violinist Jascha Heifetz made his American debut at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1917. Considered by many to be one of the greatest violinists in history, he was just 16 years old at the time. NPR's Rachel Martin spoke with commentator Miles Hoffman about that appearance and the career that followed.

When the American Repertory Ballet kicked off its new season last month, it also welcomed its new Executive Director, Julie Diana Hench.  A Tempo this week speaks with Hench, as well as Princeton Ballet School Director Pamela Levy, who took on the post last Fall, and Artistic Director Douglas Martin, about ARB's future plans and expanded audience outreach programs.  That's this Saturday at 7 pm. 

Four new musical productions make their way to Broadway before the end of the year. Find out more about them this week on In a Broadway Minute with theater critic Howard Shapiro Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 1 am.

New Jersey’s musical legacy reclaimed its place in Grammy lore Thursday with the opening of the Grammy Museum Experience in Newark’s Prudential Center, paying tribute to a history that includes musical greats like Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan and Whitney Houston.

When Johnny Fox was a boy, all his friends were obsessed with superheroes.

"Friends of mine were reading comics about Superman and Batman and I thought, 'You know, this is cartoons and made-up stories,' " he says. "I want a real superhero. There's got to be real superheroes out there."

When he was 8 or 9, his parents took him to the Eastern States Exposition near Springfield, Mass. That's where he found those real superheroes.

This week on A Tempo, host Rachel Katz concludes her conversation with Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, about how orchestras are trying to reach a broader audience and younger listeners, including through support of music education and youth orchestra programs.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

A new play in New York centers on Palestinian militants who hid from the Israeli army for over a month in 2002 inside Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity. NPR's Neda Ulaby reports that "The Siege," not surprisingly, is controversial.

"Time and the Conways" is a 1937 play being revived on Broadway with Elizabeth McGovern, best known as Lady Grantham in TV's "Downton Abbey." You can hear theater critic Howard Shapiro's review of the play this week on In a Broadway Minute Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am.

It's not often you'll find these 24 names in the same place. They are historians and musicians, computer scientists and social activists, writers and architects. But whatever it may read on their business cards (if they've even got business cards), they now all have a single title in common: 2017 MacArthur Fellow.

One of the most influential figures in hip-hop will now take a lead role in one of the nation's most prestigious cultural institutions.

Q-Tip, along with Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White, formed A Tribe Called Quest in the early '90s. The hip-hop collective introduced smooth beats and sharp social commentary inspired by the group's friendship and the issues of the time.

Last year, the group released what would turn out to be its final album, We Got It from Here ... Thank You 4 Your Service, after the death of Phife Dawg.

Classical and folk music continue to intermingle in fascinating ways. The intersections stretch back far beyond Bach, who cleverly slipped a German folk song into his Goldberg Variations. Later, composers like Ralph Vaughan Williams and Béla Bartók combed the countryside, collecting tunes from villagers.

Twice as many dramas and comedies open on Broadway during the first half of this season than musicals, and you can hear about some of them this week on In a Broadway Minute. Join theater critic Howard Shapiro Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am for this rundown.

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is taking a leave of absence from his company following a New York Times story that he sexually harassed female assistants, executives and actresses for decades. The Times report also says Weinstein settled complaints with at least eight women.

It's my first interactive theater experience. I'm standing in a dark, large room with a stage in the middle. Other audience members are huddled around. We're not really sure what we've gotten ourselves into.

Here's the premise: We've been asked to be part of a focus group run by a K-pop label. Its leaders have invited us to tour a Korean pop "factory," where the stars hone their dancing and singing in Korean and English. We, the audience, are supposed to help figure out just why Korean megastars haven't been able to break into the American market.

The Las Vegas Philharmonic will pay tribute to the victims of this past week’s tragic shooting and honor first responders at its October 14 concert to help heal the deep wounds being felt across the entire community.

When Daniil Trifonov was 20, he scored a double victory, taking home top prizes at both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein International Piano Competitions. That was six years ago, and by now he has secured a spot as one of the most revered – perhaps even feared – classical pianists on the scene today.

Bill Murray has come a long way since his early days as Nick the Lounge Singer on Saturday Night Live. He made screwball comedies like Caddy Shack and Stripes. Then he made serious films, like Lost in Translation.

Cheryl Strayed — author of the bestselling memoir Wild — was still an unknown writer when she started an anonymous advice column called "Dear Sugar." She remembers reading and writing things "that we don't normally say to people in the public space," she recalls — and those intimate exchanges made her explore her own life more deeply. "I always think of the 'Dear Sugar' column as, like, therapy in the town square."

Some of the great roles for sopranos are often compellingly fragile — and disarmingly forceful – women: Gilda, the favored daughter in Rigoletto; Violeta, the doomed love in La Traviata.

Charity Tillemann-Dick has sung those roles onstage, but her greatest role may be her own life. She is one of 11 brothers and sisters of a Mormon-Jewish family, and was studying at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music when she was diagnosed with a debilitating and ultimately fatal lung disease.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

What does it take to be an opera superstar? Jonas Kaufmann should know. He's been called "the world's greatest tenor."

Kaufmann has the voice. He's also got the onstage charisma, the movie-star good looks, the ambition, even a little controversy — and a brand new album.

When students returned to Princeton University this Fall, they were welcomed with brand new facilities for those in the creative and performing arts housed in the new Lewis Center for the Arts complex on Alexander Road. The public will be invited to explore these new rehearsal and performance spaces in early October when the University opens it up for a Festival for the Arts. 

The musical Miss Saigon is back on Broadway in revival, and you can hear a review this week on In a Broadway Minute with theater critic Howard Shapiro. Tune in Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am for his thoughts on this love story set during and after the war in Vietnam. 

On Tuesday morning, the first announcement went out that in Fall 2018 — only a year away! — Broadway performances will begin of Pretty Woman: The Musical. Prior to that, Chicago will host the world premiere run, beginning in the spring.

Sooooooooooooooooo if you've been wondering when one of Hollywood's most endearing-slash-problematic stories would make it to the stage, it's almost time!

For many people, the Jewish High Holidays are a time of celebration and spiritual renewal. But for those who have a more ambivalent relationship to their faith — those who might identify as culturally Jewish rather than religious — this time of year can be challenging.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at the Municipal Auditorium in 1967,
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Records, Special Collection and Archives, Georgia State University Library

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra last month announced that it had transferred its archives to Georgia State University Library's Special Collection and Archives. The collection includes programs, newspaper clippings, photographs, business documents and a host of other memorabilia tracing the orchestra's 73-year history.

The New York City Ballet's costume shop is located on the eighth floor of a building in Lincoln Center. There are spectacular views of the Hudson River, but no one's looking out the windows. They're all working with a quiet intensity.

"It's a shop full of 18 people," says Marc Happel, the City Ballet's director of costumes. "Amazing craftspeople, machine operators, hand stitching, we have three drapers. I mean the level of costume-making here is probably the highest you could get."

Pages